BLM Seeks Off-Range Corrals In Western U.S.

BLM said today that it has requested bids for new short-term holding facilities in Idaho, Nevada and Utah.  Capacities of 500 to 10,000 wild horses and burros are desired, according to the news release.

Animals delivered to the corrals will be held temporarily before transfer to off-range pastures or adoption/sale locations across the country.

Proposals will be accepted through November 30.

The construction of a high-capacity animal feeding operation was the subject of a heated debate earlier this year in Laramie County, WY.

RELATED: BLM Seeks Off-Range Corrals.

Tale of Two Interests-1

Definition of Rangeland Health

It’s when the poor ranchers can enjoy the full benefit of their permitted AUMs.

Consider this example from Appendix VII of the Final EA for wild horse management actions in the Caliente Complex:

To reestablish the health to the rangeland in the Areas we currently run Cattle the population of Wild Horses must be managed properly.  Current numbers indicate a gross overpopulation of Wild Horses on our allotments as well as many others.  We currently have an allotment that is supposed to allow us up to 327 Cattle (1312 AUMS) on our Sheep Flat permit.  The damage because of overpopulation of Wild Horses has made it to where we can barely run 100 head on this Allotment and not for the full grazing season.  We have to gather cattle and move them to rented pasture in Barclay to finish out the summer season.

Can you imagine that?  Having to pay market rates to feed your cattle?  You wouldn’t wish that on your worst enemy.

Cattle and Horses

Red Desert Roundup Day 19

The event started on October 10.  Gather stats through October 28:

  • Horses captured: 1,311
  • Goal: 2,400
  • Deaths: 4
  • Returned: 115
  • Shipped: 799

No activity on Day 18 due to weather.  One death occurred on Day 19.

Foals accounted for 22.5% of the total.  Of the captured adults, approximately 47% were males and 53% were females.  Body condition scores are not known.

Twenty five horses were returned to their home range over the last few days, bringing the total to 115.  The release may signify the end of gather operations in one the HMAs.

The reports don’t say where the horses were captured or returned.  Five HMAs are involved in the roundup.

There are 393 unaccounted-for horses as of October 28.  The contractor may be holding them on site.

RELATED: Red Desert Roundup Day 16.

Moriah’s Cousins

Two years ago, in the Caliente Complex, a decision by the BLM authorized wild horse management actions in an area not managed for wild horses.

Legal action by several advocacy groups halted the plan, although a nuisance gather occurred there last year.

The Complex includes nine HAs that were demoted from HMAs around the same time as Moriah, except for one that was dropped in 2000.

Caliente Complex Map

Like Moriah, they were evaluated for forage, water, cover, space and reproductive viability and found to be deficient in one or more of those characteristics and therefore deemed unsuitable for wild horses.  Refer to Section 1.1 of the Final EA for the removal of wild horses from the Complex.

The EA does not say which HMA suffered from what condition and does not explain how 1,744 horses could be living there at the time it was published.

Curiously, the 26 allotments that intersect the Complex were not zeroed out, although a few were idled voluntarily.  See Table 3.2 and the Appendix V map in the EA.

The forage assigned to livestock, approximately 40,000 AUMs per year, would support 3,300 wild horses at a stocking rate of four animals per thousand acres.

Together, Moriah and Caliente represent nearly one million acres of public lands originally designated for wild horses but now managed almost exclusively for privately owned livestock.

RELATED: What Happened to the Moriah HMA?

Confusion Wild Horse Decision Appealed

Wild Horse Education announced today that it has taken legal action opposing a decision by the BLM earlier this month authorizing certain wild horse management actions in the Confusion HMA.

The plan, which included sterilization of mares at private facilities (not open to public observation), would ensure over the long run that the Confusion wild horses consume no more than their fair share—around 12%—of the total authorized forage in the HMA.

RELATED: Confusion DR Setting New Precedent in WH Management?

WHBAB Member Identifies Cause of Wild Horse ‘Problem’

In a story posted yesterday by the Paulick Report, a news service devoted to the horseracing industry, Dr. Tom Lenz, WHBAB member representing veterinary medicine, said “I think the problem we have today is that the public, through Congress, is managing the horses, rather than the BLM managing them through scientists.”

OK, people, it’s time to ‘fess up.

Who among you have been writing and approving the RMPs that allocate eighty percent or more of the forage in HMAs to privately owned livestock?

How many of you have been demanding the roundups and other population controls that enforce those resource allocations?

Which one of you secured funding for the ‘Path Forward,’ which will ultimately remove seventy percent of America’s wild horses and burros from their home range and place them into off-range pastures and private sanctuaries?

Who benefits as HMAs are zeroed out, predators are decimated and invasive species, such as pinyon pines and juniper trees, are eradicated?

Who pushed for changes to the WHB Act, rendering it ineffective?

Avoid the consequences.  Identify yourselves in the comments.  Do it now!

Black Mountain Roundup Day 31

The operation started on September 23.  Gather stats through October 23:

  • Burros captured: 302
  • Goal: 500
  • Deaths: 2
  • Returned: 0
  • Shipped: 253

Foals accounted for 14.2% of the total.  Of the captured adults, approximately 53% were jacks and 47% were jennies.  The cumulative total says 300 animals captured.

One death occurred on October 23, when a four year old jenny was put down due to a broken neck.  Her foal was adopted out.  Neither animal was included in the Day 31 figures so the incident may have occurred in a holding pen involving animals previously gathered.  Should the foal be counted as an animal shipped?

There were 302 – 2 – 253 = 47 unaccounted-for burros as of October 23.  BLM staff may be holding them on site.

RELATED: Black Mountain Roundup Day 17.

Clark Mountain Roundup Over

The operation concluded on October 23 with 126 burros gathered, 126 shipped and no deaths.  The goal was 80.  The number of animals remaining in the HA is not known.

Foals accounted for 20.6% of the total.  Of the captured adults, 42% were jacks and 58% were jennies.

A foal refused to follow its mother into the trap on the last day of the roundup so the mom was released.

Figures courtesy of BLM, Ridgecrest Field Office.

RELATED: Clark Mountain Roundup in Progress.

Red Desert Roundup Day 16

The incident started on October 10.  Gather stats through October 25:

  • Horses captured: 1,060
  • Goal: 2,400
  • Deaths: 3
  • Returned: 90
  • Shipped: 688

No activity on Days 13 and 16 due to weather.  The haul on Day 14 was 263, the largest of the operation so far.  The cumulative totals show 1,062 horses captured.

One death occurred on Day 14 and another on Day 15.

Foals accounted for 22.6% of the total.  The sex ratio of captured adults is approximately 47% males, 53% females.

The reports do not indicate where the horses were captured.  Five HMAs are involved in the roundup.

Body condition scores are not known.

There are 1,060 – 3 – 90 – 688 = 279 unaccounted-for horses.  The contractor may be holding them on site.

RELATED: Red Desert Roundup Day 11.

Propping Up a Failed Industry

“Nevada’s livestock industry would not exist without ranchers’ ability to graze on public land,” according to the Nevada Rangelands Resources Commission, because most of the land is owned by the federal government.

Nevada is also home to half of America’s wild horses.

Western Horse Watchers is unable to determine if NRRC is a government entity or a trade group masquerading as a government entity.  The state seal appears on their home page.  An email seeking clarification in November 2019 was never answered.

Federal ownership of land in other western states is considerably less, but we see the same pattern of roundups and biased RMPs.

Do you think the rancher-friendly ‘Path Forward‘ applies only to Nevada?

“Healthy horses on healthy rangelands” is a lie.

Roundups enforce resource allocations of RMPs, which assign eighty percent or more of the forage to privately owned livestock, not because the ranchers are on the verge of bankruptcy but because they have co-opted a federal agency to suit their agenda.

The wild horse and burro program has been turned into a grazing program ancillary.

Cut them off.  The west is settled.  They are destroying an irreplaceable natural resource.

How many tears were shed when manufacturers of vacuum tubes went out of business with the advent of the transistor?

Who cried for makers of carburetors when fuel injectors hit the market?

Can you imagine the federal government spending hundreds of millions of dollars to marginalize Henry Ford so it can protect the jobs of those who make buggy whips?

It’s time to end public-lands ranching and restore the WHB Act to its original form.

Thriving Ecological Balance-3

What Happened to the Moriah HMA?

It was chartered in 1983 with an AML of 29, according to Section 4.1.2 of the Final EA for wild horse management actions therein.

To quality as an HMA, an area must supply forage, water, cover, space, and reproductive viability, according to Section 1.1.  In 2007, Moriah was evaluated for wild horse suitability and “failed to meet one or more of the five required habitat components resulting in the decision, under the land-use plan, to drop its HMA status.”

But the EA does not say which requirements were not met and does not explain the 714 wild horses currently living there.

There must be another reason.  The allotments that overlap the HA were not zeroed out so perhaps it had resources coveted by the public-lands ranchers.

The initial comments in Appendix V of the EA support that theory.

RELATED: Moriah Roundup Pending.

Moriah Roundup Pending

BLM announced today the signing of a Decision Record for wild horse management actions at the Moriah HA in eastern Nevada, allowing a roundup to occur after a 30-day appeal period.

The DR authorized the Proposed Action (Alternative A) in the final Environmental Assessment.

The HA covers 53,300 acres on the Utah border and has no AML.  It was deemed unsuitable for horses in 2008 and demoted from an HMA, yet an estimated 714 horses live there today.

Moriah HA Map

The HA intersects five allotments and is almost entirely subject to permitted livestock grazing, as shown in Figure 1 of the EA.

The Proposed Action will remove all wild horses from the area.

RELATED: Comments Invited on Moriah Gather EA.